A fresh look at Skookum

Ah, the promise of spring is in the air as those earliest tree buds and flowers pop, it’s a good time to take a fresh look at what Skookum does and can do, with your help.

We are a network of regular folks sharing the knowledge, skills and supports to grow, gather, raise, catch, preserve, prepare and access local, healthful food.

We chose the non-profit, cooperative model because we feel that a network of ‘members helping members’ under our collectively-owned, democratic umbrella is the best way to make local food happen for our members and the larger community. Our actions include raising public awareness of topics related to personal food sovereignty via member-run workshops, events and gatherings, projects, presentations, work parties, film screenings, group buying clubs (like our own The Abundant Pantry bulk food buying club, our Tattler reusable canning lids, Eternal Seed and Rancho Vignola fruit/nut bulk purchases), that all aim at strengthening our network of engaged citizens, while increasing our individual and collective self-reliance when it comes to good, healthful food, as locally-sourced as possible.

One great way anyone can learn how to grow at least some of their own food is through attending Seedy Saturday this coming Saturday! Drop by and see us at Seedy Saturday on March 9 at the Powell River Recreation Complex (10am-3pm) at 5001 Joyce Avenue, for a chat.

Click to find out more...
Click to find out more…

 

If you want to help out with public events like this above (the Newcomers’ Social is coming up April 23, for example), or come up with our own events like hosting a film screening or guest speaker… let us know, and we’ll help you make it happen.

Also, for you writers/bloggers out there, please feel free to send us your pithy prose on how Skookum works its way into your food-related solutions (how you learned to can, dehydrate, etc.) ; we’d all love to hear from you. Just send us your writing via email to skookum@skookumfood.ca, and we’ll handle the rest.

Have a more concrete project or workshop or event idea and want Skookum to help you run it? You can contact us to submit a short proposal via email to skookum@skookumfood.ca, and we’ll get back to you. For ideas on what a project can look like, visit our past projects page.

Let us know what your interests are and how you’d like to help make your cooperative even better, take our on-going Members’ Skills Survey.

A Few On-going Projects

We just completed a bulk order of more Tattler reusable BPA-free canning lids (on sale to members soon), as well as a Rancho Vignola clearance order for our members only, and as you can see below The Abundant Pantry is ready for the next order…

Keep the evening of Thursday May 2 free, as this is the date of our Annual General Meeting (more on this shortly).

Click above to get the acorn rolling...
Click above to get the acorn rolling…

For you lucky The Abundant Pantry (TAP) Members: Your March bulk food order cycle closes this Sunday, March 10th, at 11:00 pm, so now is the time to become a member of TAP and to shop for the best prices and food quality, while stocking up your pantry. Find out how to become a member here.

 

Catching (and Wrapping) Up

Happy Holidays and thank you for helping to make local food happen.

It’s been a very busy Fall for Skookum so far this year; and as we head into 2013 it’s ‘whiplash time’ as we look back to see what we accomplished, and forward on how we can do more and better. 2012 was the UN-designated Year of the Cooperative and we are working on airing a 5-program series on cooperatives on CJMP 90.1 FM Community Radio before year end. Keep your ears (and eyes, as we will be promoting it) peeled.

You may remember seeing some pictures on our Facebook page  from our last event of 2012, as several of us helped press apple cider for James Thomson Elementary School’s Farm to School program. We had another successful Abundant Pantry order (next order will be mid-January 2013, check the site in January to order), and we’re just about ready to distribute over 500 lbs of dried fruit/nuts/confectionery from our second Rancho Vignola order that just came in.

Skookum is more than bulk buying, though, and we’d like to increase our workshops and other hands-on projects in 2013. That said, one great reason to have a cooperative is to be able to generate some buying power as a group, and in doing so, also help the community and the cooperative grow and increase self-sufficiency.

Buying seed together.

Last year just after Christmas, I started thinking about and then planning a bulk seed order. A dozen or so members got together and I coordinated an order from our local Eternal Seeds company, who gave us a 20% discount overall if we collectively bought 10 packets of any of their seeds (about 5% was allocated to Skookum and the coordinator). This year, the feedback indicates that we need to order earlier than the February 14th deadline we had last year, by at least a month.

If anyone out there would like to manage the seed order (and the project can be as different as you like), please drop us a line or fill out a short proposal here. Deadline for a proposal or indication of interest in managing this project is EXTENDED to Dec. 30, 2012. The deadline to order should be by Jan 14, 2013.

Below we have a list of our completed projects for 2012, and in addition to these, we have an on-going Abundant Pantry bulk food order every two months. All our past projects are listed on our past projects webpage.

January 2012:

  • Skookum held a potluck members’ social event to celebrate 2012, the UN International Year of the Co-op. Read the story here.

March 2012:

  • Bulk seed order from Eternal Seeds

June/July 2012:

  • Skookum held 2 home tanning workshops

August 2012:

  • Bulk purchase of fruit/vegetables and dehydrating work party at the Community Resource Centre

September 2012

  • Skookum’s second Tattler lid bulk order
  • Bulk purchase of Sausagemaker dehydrators
  • Skookum was at the Fall Fair, pressing cider and raising funds

October 2012

  • Second Rancho Vignola Fruit and Nut Bulk Order

November 2012

  • Skookum helps the local Farm to School project press apples for James Thomson Elementary School for a second year.

We’re a-puttin’ on up!

Ant collecting food for tougher times

‘Putting up’ is a colloquial term referring to the process of canning : preserving foods by packing them into glass jars and then heating the jars to kill the organisms that would create spoilage. But along with canning, other food preserving methods such as dehydrating, pickling in salt, vinegar, sugar or alcohol, smoking food to preserve it, lacto-/wild fermentation and (of course) freezing it are all ways to extend the ’50-mile eat local’ goal year-round.

Growing it yourself is one great way to ensure your own food security and the quality of the produce you eat. And as you learn about your own yard’s microclimate (see here for Powell River details) and develop your gardening skills, you will see what grows best for you, and adapt what you eat to what grows well, or at least to set up a bartering system where you can trade your zucchini for your neighbour’s carrots. Exercise, fresh air, sunshine and the joy and satisfaction from growing your own add to the value of turning ‘sod to salad’.

Aug 5-Sept 23, 2012: The 50-day Powell River 50 Mile Eat Local Challenge! It all starts with the Edible Garden Tour on Sun. Aug. 5 Click on the snail for more info…

Once again, this year, the 4th Annual Edible Garden Tour (Sunday, August 5; get the guide here) allows you to visit a dozen or so local food gardens to see how others are doing it. Don’t miss this opportunity!

But what about food you can’t easily grow or source locally? Well, that’s when Skookum Food Provisioners’ Cooperative’s The Abundant Pantry project (TAP) comes in. Every two months (the next deadline is September 9, 2012) our hard-working TAP coordinator Wendy Pelton collects Skookum members’ orders of bulk food and two or three days later, she (with some help from members) divides and provide us with our bundles of food we ordered.

French Green Lentils soaking

The benefits of buying in bulk are many, including:

  • Increasing your own (and your local community’s) food security in case of any disruption or lack of certain foods throughout the year. For example, the many drought-striken areas in the US will reduce availability and increase costs at the supermarket— like the ant at the top, think ahead!
  • Buying in bulk can dramatically reduce your costs: the more you buy, the more you save! This means that that you can often buy Organic and better quality food for the same price (or less than) you would pay in stores for conventionally-grown food. Plus, with our co-op structure, you can split orders, and get to meet other members, setting up a network of foodie friends to split orders in the future as well. As Pete Tebbutt recently put it:

“Some of the items I purchased I balked at, at first…..why do I need 12 bottles of Tamari?, for instance.  Well, who knew one could turn Tamari into balsamic vinegar or maple syrup into chocolate, which I did by trading with other members.”

  • With the recent focus on reducing packaging and trash as promoted by our friends at Let’s Talk Trash, buying a larger amount of dry staple foods like salt, flour, sugar, grains and legumes at one time will reduce your use of unnecessary packaging like plastic bags and tubs, tin cans, glass and cardboard boxes. Remember that even if the packaging is recycled, there are serious environmental impacts in the production, transportation and recycling these materials. Find out more on reducing your plastic use here.
  • Having a store of bulk staples foods means your family will eat healthier by avoiding the temptation of buying pre-cooked frozen or processed foods from the supermarket because of sheer convenience. If you have a bucket of dried beans right there in your home, you will use them. We all know how bad that extra salt, sugar/corn syrup, extra fat and preservatives hidden away in processed foods are for us; it feels good to actually take action and get into the habit of eating better
  • Having a store of food also reduces your trips to the supermarkets, which is good for the environment and for your own fuel consumption (and the cost of this in various ways including time, gas, vehicle wear-and-tear, etc.)
  • Buying via our Abundant Pantry project is easy, there is a wide and ever-growing array of foods available (including some local providers of soap and rabbits, and more) and a very small portion of each order goes to help Skookum fund other projects. It’s a win-win-win situation, so try it out! Follow the image (and habits) of Skooky the Squirrel. click here.
Click above to get the acorn rolling…

We’re on Facebook

fb